I’m currently using Solidworks for 3D modeling and Photoworks for 3D rendering. I’ve found that Photoworks is OK for creating images but is often very BUGGY. For instance, I’ve had issues with materials not being removed from objects even after countless attempts to do so. Also, the application of image maps such as labels & graphics seem to be awkward and often not high quality.

Can I get some opinions and explanations of what people think is the best for rendering 3D images using Solidworks geometry. In particular, for packaging with graphics & labels.

There is alot of rendering software out there and it all depends on what you would like to do. I have found that most people in the Pkg world are using 3ds Max. 3ds is great for a number of reasons but most of all it is easy to pick up and learn the fundamentals.

I have been using it for a number of years and love it. I have never used it with Solid Works geometry but I do know that they make a plug-in for that.

Maya with the Mental Ray plug-in is the best that I have seen. It’s really tweakable, probably too tweakable, and it makes outstanding renderings.

There’s a good gallery here.

Not my stuff, but really nice.

Autodesk VIZ 2007 would be just as good (also includes Mental Ray) and is probably cheaper - only $2000.

Maya w/ MR built in is only $2000 unless there were changes in last few months or so. I’ve been using Max for the last couple of months and find it to be generally inferior to Maya. I knew Maya’s shading system was nice, but it’s so well laid out compared to Max it’s no contest imo. I look forward to going back to Maya.

Maya has an incredibly detailed and sophisticated system for working with the materials. Believe it or not, Photoworks’ render-engine is actually mental ray – the same as Maya’s high end. The big difference is that, once you’ve figured out how it works, you can set up mathematically-driven shaders that look much better than the best-guess system Photoworks seems to use.

Case in point: One of my classmates spent a week of anguish trying to get her rendering of a clear yellow plastic object to look, well, realistic. The plastic setting didn’t work, and neither did glass or dielectric. Everything worked out when she set it to transparent aluminum. :question:

Not the most intuitive system, I have to say…

Image Studio is dummy proof and generates hot renders. Maya is top dog at the moment.

Solid Modelers: Pro/E WF 3.0 had some big improvments. Might be able to take that seriously now. SolidWorks has a nice system and has for some years.

There is a value in using the Solidmodeler renders. you would not have to export and all that jazz but they are not there yet.

I can tell off the bat as to why you are experiencing what you are when it comes to Photoworks and materials.

You have to understand that you can apply materials in so many different places in the program that it gets mind boggling crazy. You have to look at these next two points.

  • Materials can be applied to surfaces, features, bodies, or Parts.
  • This is very - important, WHAT you apply your material to will override the other.
  • Use the Photoworks manager to see what material is applied to what aspect of your model.
  • The best thing you can ever do is ALWAYS apply your material at the Part level, because then you will always know where it was applied.

Hope this helps…

CAD Junkie has probably hit the nail on the head with your material problems in Photoworks.

Personally, I like the look of 3dmax rendering using the vray plugin but I have no idea how to use it and to just pick it up and try it out will waste your time. I suspect some classes would be advised.

I uses Photoworks because of its simplicity and decent renderings. I use it to quickly get a basic rendering then touch up in Photoshop.

From experiance (as CAD Junkie also stated) apply all your material in the part level NOT ASSEMBLIES! Its much easier to keep track of all your attached material when they are seperted into their parts.

Also, always check your Photoworks design tree and make sure the appropiate material is applied to different features of your part.

If your need to adjust setting of the material do so from right clicking in the photoworks design tree on the material and click edit.

DO NOT MANUALLY SELECT THE FEATURE AGAIN AND APPLY ANOTHER MATERIAL FROM THE DROP DOWN MENU! This may somehow apply 2 materials to the feature/surface/part. You would need to the go back to the Photoworks design tree an delete al references to the material.

If you work like this Photoworks can be a very quick and easy rendering tool.

good luck

speaking from personal experience i’ve tried using 3ds max’s mental ray, and it took some time to get used to, but i recieve better results using vray as a plugin for max, easy to learn, and when i comes down to render time i’d go with 3ds max + vray, im sure you can get really great images from maya also, but i haven’t seen a lot of people use maya for rendering in the product design industry. i’ve also used maxwell which has a really good rendering engine, but the drawback would be the time it takes to bake the image (hours) it’s really easy to set up, but takes forever to finish without the “noise”. alias studio tools comes with mental ray but i gave up on alias for modeling although it has very sophisticated surfacing options i primarily use rhino and sw to model now. everyone will say that their program will be the best because they’re more proficient in one program over the other, so think of it this way, if i were an expert at all of these rendering packages which one would best fit what i need it to do. ??? am i doing animation?, am i going to have to render anything with fur?, how much time do i have for each image? any how good luck on finding your dream rendering package, there’s always going to be a better one.

Thanks for posting, dreamer7. The questions you list at the end of your post are good questions to ask.

Just for clarification for anyone else who might read this, StudioTools does not come with mental ray. ImageStudio (another ID-based package from Alias/Autodesk) is based on mental ray, but it is focused on rendering and has no modeling tools. StudioTools (now AliasStudio) uses its own proprietary renderer.

I reckon your best best is to export the 3DS MAX, but if you want the best quality images availible try maxell render: it’s a dedicated rendering package, which produces incredible images from almost any package.


wares, product design sheffield, product design

Maybe you can use C4D,it is very great for rending picture,not only the effect but aslo the speed,ease to use it.I once used 3DMAX,it is good, but not the best.Now I make a model by CATIA,then rend a picture by C4D.You can feel they are great partnership.

If you want a good FREE rendering engine, try Blender.

I’ve been using 3dMax standard render for a year or so, but have just finished a course where we’ve been using a plugin for 3dMax by MaxwellRender. As mentioned by wares it produces incredible images. I’m a student and only make fairly simple scenes, but the results are very realistic. This been said, it’s a fairly new software and the plugin causes some problems making 3dMax crash, but i expect this to be solved in the upcoming versions.